What Is The Ketogenic Diet?
First off, it is important that you understand I am not a doctor, a dietitian, or nutritionist and am not advising on nutrition. I am simply sharing my experience and understanding through reading, listening, and lots of self experimentation. The material on this blog is for informational purposes only. As each individual situation is unique, you should use proper discretion, in consultation with a healthcare practitioner, before undertaking the protocols, diets, exercises, techniques, training methods, or otherwise described herein. The author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any adverse effects that may result from the use or application of the information contained herein.
My understanding of the ketogenic diet is that it was developed in the late 1920s for kids with epilepsy in which their seizures were uncontrollable with medication.
"The ketogenic diet was designed in 1924 by Dr. Russell Wilder at the Mayo Clinic. Despite being highly effective in treating epilepsy, it fell out of fashion due to the surge in new anti-seizure medications in the 1940s. In 1994 Charlie Abraham’s family started The Charlie Foundation after his complete recovery from daily seizures despite trying all available anti-seizure medications and enduring a futile brain surgery. Charlie started the diet as a toddler and remained on it for 5 years. He is now a college student and remains seizure-free." www.CharlieFoundation.org
Through research, they found that when these kids fasted, they no longer had seizures. Since you can't fast a kid or any human for that matter indefinitely, they began to develop a diet that mimics fasting physiologically, in order to provide the kids a way to avoid seizures, but still give their bodies the nutrients they need to survive. This was the ketogenic diet which is defined as make a diet with the macronutrient ratio of 70-75% fat, 20-25% protein, 5-10% carbohydrates. -ketogenic-diet-resource.com (These ratios can shift slightly depending on your particular body type, and food history.) The diet gets its name from the fact that when you switch to a high fat, moderate protein and low carb diet, your body begins to shift its main energy source away from glucose to ketone bodies, which come from fat and fat metabolism. When you are using these ketone bodies as your primary fuel source, you are said to be in ketosis, which can be tested a few different ways. This, at first glance, seems very extreme in a way, but I think after a little more explanation there will be some key points that make a lot of things clearer on this approach to nutrition. The first thing to remember, is that food volume and caloric density are different things. What I mean by that is, when you look at a plate of food, three-quarters of the plate should be covered by vegetables, with one-quarter remaining available for fat and protein. This can satisfy the proper ratio depending on the foods that are in those sections. One gram of carbohydrates is 4 calories one gram of protein is 4 calories one gram of fat is 9 calories. Therefore it takes less volume of fat to get the amount of calories that you need to satisfy the proper macronutrient ratio on this diet. So why is this important, and why the focus on eating such high fat? First of all, you need to have a basic understanding of how the body normally utilizes food for energy.
On a typical American diet, your body takes the food that you've eaten and starts breaking it down to its smaller components through digestion. As it does this, it distributes the smaller parts of your food including glucose, to different parts of the body. Glucose specifically is taken from carbohydrates, sugar (and sometimes protein) and converted to energy (via ATP in the liver) then distributed to the bloodstream where it then gives you energy. Since our bodies are not perfectly precise, this increase in blood sugar can go higher than your normal concentration ( hyperglycemia) in which the body now needs to release insulin (a storage hormone) to manage and store this excess blood sugar for fuel to be used later as bodyfat. When this insulin is released and store this excess glucose, the blood sugar becomes lower than normal (hypoglycemia) and now your body begins to recognize this and begins to signal hunger to let you know that it needs fuel from more glucose, and the cycle continues. (You can read more about insulin at the American Diabetes Association). When your body releases insulin, more releases than needed to manage the current glucose levels, your blood sugar then drops which makes you hungry again. This is one mechanism that's acting on your energy levels when on a regular American diet. Another, is that of your hormones. When you eat carbohydrates you promote Ghrelin stimulation. A hunger hormone specifically hungry for that of glucose and carbohydrates. Conversely, when you eat fat, you stimulate Leptin production. This is a satiation hormone which allows you to feel more full and satisfied. Another nice effect of eating a high-fat, moderate protein and low carb diet is that because your body gets used to burning fat for fuel. It will then begin to also burn your body fat for fuel throughout the day and with diminished eating or low caloric intake. Another interesting point to consider for me was that there are some negative associations with metabolism of excess glucose and carbohydrates. In general, some of the these negatives include increased blood sugar, increased need for insulin and the excess storage of adipose (fat) tissue from this. Also, these foods take away space that could be used for more nutrient dense vegetables or high quality fats. These are foods that my body needs including the vitally essential building blocks to create and repair important tissue throughout my body and brain.
Stay Tuned For Part 3: How I Got Started Eating High Fat
Author : Jordan Proudfoot
Here are my thoughts and insights into fitness and wellness to be the best you possible.